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Episode 40 of 45

Cultivating STEMM and Entrepreneurial Life Skills with Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen (#40)

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Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen OAM is a futurist who believes existing structures in the technology industry must change in order to serve tomorrow's digital landscape, and that our children's future job prospects depend on it. Her focus is on leadership, innovation, and education to champion Australian tech entrepreneurship, and address the necessary rebalancing of gender roles within the traditionally male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) space.

In her highly illuminating presentations, Dr Beekhuyzen discusses her vision for Australia's future in technology, including the changes that will prove critical in helping leaders break traditional approaches that currently hold us back. More importantly, she proposes practical solutions that can mobilise a new generation of leaders and innovators who are committed to solving real-world problems with technology.

In our conversation, we talk about the Foundation, cultivating an interest in STEMM, and teaching young girls life skills through entrepreneurship.

Show Notes (link)

[00:00:55] Jenine's journey to business and software engineering.
[00:01:05] From vocational education to universiy.
[00:03:56] Finding her space in advocacy and the Tech Girls Movement Foundation.
[00:04:08] Jenine's research work leading to a desire to solve this known problem in
[00:05:23] The issues around the career pipeline for women in STEM.
[00:06:54] How we engage children as young as 6 years old in STEM.
[00:07:53] AEIOU.
[00:11:28] Dr Stephanie Ryan's STEMM in your day-to-day.
[00:12:30] Teaching kids to be problem solvers.
[00:13:17] Allowing kids to take ownership of problems they want to solve.
[00:13:36] Giving people a safe space to create.
[00:15:21] How Tech Girls Movement Foundation creates environments and safe spaces to learn and create.
[00:15:31] The Tech Girls competition and 12 week entrepreneurship program.
[00:17:54] The opportunity to pitch in Silicon Valley.
[00:18:24] 2021's winners created a 91 page business plan (!!)
[00:18:53] Developing skills that we use in adulthood and the workforce.
[00:19:21] Changing attitudes towards mathematics: Demonstrable real world applications.
[00:21:25] Finance is more than money. It's about understanding the value of your work.
[00:24:14] The trend towards well-being.
[00:25:00] Reflections on your views as a mentor.
[00:28:06] Mentorship is an exercise for the mentor as much as it is for the mentees.
[00:30:18] Jenine's research work.
[00:30:26] The low numbers of women in STEM.
[00:31:09] Outreach on youth perceptions of STEM.
[00:31:38] The state of the digital divide.
[00:32:05] Cultural and linguistic diversity in STEM.
[00:33:45] The challenges of isolation and remote work.
[00:35:53] Communication and behavioural substitution.
[00:37:47] Next steps in encouraging women to STEM and career longevity.
[00:38:23] Valuing the voices of the younger generation.
[00:38:54] Valuing the contributions of women in industry.
[00:39:40] Achieving critical mass of women in industry.
[00:40:04] Getting more women in positions where they can affect structural change.
[00:40:52] Rising homelessness in women over 55.
[00:41:37] The wider impact of inequity.
[00:43:06] Novel solutions to systemic issues.
[00:43:38] Pandemic of loneliness.
[00:44:35] The growth area for communities and connection arising from the pandemic.
[00:46:16] Tech Girls cultivating a network and community of likeminded individuals.
[00:49:14] Failure is part of the process.
[00:50:52] Not self-rejecting.
[00:51:07] Inviting people into spaces they would otherwise not have considered.
[00:53:45] The mindset of recognising your own abilities and experience.
[00:54:57] Having champions as well as mentors.
[00:55:48] Parenthood is part of your professional skillset.
[00:57:02] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[00:57:06] Artistic problem-solving and mosaics.
[00:58:29] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[00:58:55] Judy Blume and adventure.
[00:59:12] Elizabeth Gilbert.
[00:59:22] Supporting female authors and female voices.
[01:00:12] The subtle differences between books with female vs male protagonists.
[01:02:51] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[01:03:30] The 80% Rule.
[01:05:30] The efficacy or lack thereof of gendered campaigns.
[01:06:10] Be okay with not being good at everything, but try it anyway.
[01:06:46] Redefining failure.
[01:07:48] Finding out more about Jenine's work.

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